On Thur. Jan. 28, Waynesburg University hosted its first Food Truck Thursday. According to Dr. Shari Payne, vice president of enrollment, the event was a success.
“We were thrilled how it went. We [sold] approximately $2,200 in presale for the vouchers, and know that the vouchers can be used all semester long, but the day of voucher sales were over $5,000,” Payne said. “We didn’t know what to expect, [although] obviously we thought students would be excited.”
There were three different vendors present at the event. Oryza, a restaurant with locations in Morgantown, West Virginia and Robinson, Pennsylvania., sold hibachi and other Asian grill options. StrEats, the second vendor, is based out of New Eagle, Pennsylvania, and sold foods including hot dogs, hamburgers and pierogies. The third vendor was Aladdin, the company that provides the meals in the Beehive and Benedum, which sold sushi, hot chocolate bombs, churros and other items out of a tent. According to Dr. Payne, this tent was a trial run for more sushi options in the future.
“One of the things that we wanted to do with that night was to test out the sushi sales. I had mentioned to students as they were coming in that if sushi was something that they really like, then let us know how it is,” Payne said. “We are working with this particular sushi chef to not only come back for Food Truck Thursdays, every Thursday, but also for sale in the Beehive marketplace area.”
The sushi was a big draw for Frank Cortazzo, a freshman electronic media major.
“I want to try out this sushi,” Cortazzo said. “It looks amazing.’
In the future, Payne expects there to be a larger variety of trucks present at Food Truck Thursdays.
“I know that we put this together pretty fast for [last] week, so once the word got out to the food truck industry that we were looking for different trucks we got a lot of calls in the past few days wanting to participate for our students,” Payne said. “We are in talks for a taco truck, Tobu, which is out of Mount Lebanon, and we are in talks with a chicken truck.”
According to students, the event gave them a chance to reconnect with the campus community.
Dr. Payne said President Douglas Lee was a big factor in making Food Truck Thursday happen.
“President Lee is the one that really made this happen with the negotiation with Aladdin. He was instrumental in making this happen, so kudos and lots of thanks to President Lee for doing this,” Payne said. “The second acknowledgement is to the Hive, the radio guys, for coming [to the event]. It certainly added a nice festive flair.”
Payne also thanked the Student Senate and Aladdin workers for their efforts in making the event a success.
Mike Connelly, a junior computer security and forensics major, said the event gave students a chance to reconnect.
“I think it’s a good catch-up of pace,” Connelly said. “Before the coronavirus we would get out and go in Johnson Commons and have campus life connect, and in the midst of the coronavirus having safety precautions and things like that, I think it’s a good way to connect students again.”